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December 2017 Archives

When grandparents are estranged because of custody

Grandparents often play an important role in children’s lives. Unfortunately, there are some instances where grandparents can lose contact with their grandchildren, either from a separation, divorce, or a remarriage. Divorce especially triggers an outpouring of emotions for everyone involved, including the divorcing couple’s parent. While some marriages end amicably, others can end in a bitter court battle and grandparents run the risk of not being able to see their grandchildren as consistently as they’re used to, or sometimes not at all.

When the custodial parent dies

The death of a parent is a tragic event for any child to experience. In Texas, the court will look out for the child’s best interests and place them in a stable environment to help them cope and heal. The new custodian can vary depending on the situation.

Anatomy of Child Custody Part 3: Post-litigation

Now that we have discussed what happens prior to and during a child custody case, we will dive into what happens afterwards. The child is in full custody of the sole managing conservator, and that leaves you as the possessory conservator. This means you have the right to consistent visits with your child. Along with scheduled visitations, as the possessory conservator, you have the responsibility to pay child support to your child's primary custodian.

Anatomy of Child Custody Part 1: Mediation

One of the most arduous and heart-wrenching battles you can go through is a child custody battle. Combine these difficult situations with courtroom trials and huge legal fees, and the entire process can leave you feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. But when it comes to child custody, you want to give it the time and attention it deserves. In this three-part series, we will be discussing the individual processes that accompany a child custody case: mediation, court decisions, and what happens post-litigation. 

How proposed custody law changes could affect fathers

Over the last year, more than 20 states including Texas have considered bills that would presume equal parenting in child custody cases. The proposed measures are an attempt to level the playing field between mothers and fathers and to reflect research that shows children benefit when their parents co-parent.

Some good information for single fathers

The overarching definition of parental rights is all of the legal rights and obligations that come with being a parent. This includes the responsibility to care for and protect your child, providing all your child's needs, and making important decisions about your child's life. In the case of a divorce, this also includes certain aspects like custody and visitation issues. As a single father and a noncustodial parent (meaning you do not have primary custody of your child), it's important for you to understand the rights that you have when it comes to your child. 

Court considerations for children’s living arrangements

A child's world is flipped upside down when the parents get a divorce. That's why it's important to establish a sense of normalcy in the household, especially when it comes to living arrangements. Visitation decisions and child custody is often based on the parents’ living situations.

Six easy steps to lose custody of your child

Not so long ago, mothers were more likely to win sole custody of their children in a custody battle. As time and culture has progressed, where both parents are opting to work outside of the home, the chance for custody to be granted to either parent has significantly increased. According to an article published by The New York Times, there are now "2.2 million divorced women in the United States who do not have primary physical custody of their children, and an estimated 50 percent of fathers who seek such custody in a disputed divorce are granted it." This number shows that favor is no longer given to mothers alone, but to the parent who is most involved in their children's lives. 

You’ve lost custody of your kids. Now get them back.

Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has ruled on two important cases relating to child custody. In addition, the U.S. Congress has passed federal legislation. In 1972, the court ruled (Stanley v. Illinois) that unmarried fathers have fundamental parenting rights; in 1983 (Lehr v. Robertson), SCOTUS ruled that biological fathers must demonstrate a presence in their child’s life in order to hold onto custodial rights; and in 1997, Congress passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) giving states the right to terminate parental rights if a child remains in foster care for 15 out of 22 months.

Recently divorced? 4 ways to make holidays happier for your kids

The holidays can be a very difficult time of year for parents who are newly divorced and navigating the season as separate families for the first time. Parents and kids can feel sad, scared and stressed out about what to expect when they are celebrating holidays.